Afghan officials say 76 suspected Taleban militants were killed and some 30 were captured in a joint Afghan-U.S. military attack on rebel hideouts in the south of the country.

Afghan officials described the fighting as some of the heaviest since the fall of the Taleban regime three and a half years ago.

The fighting took place in a region straddling the provinces of Kandahar and Zabol.

Afghan officials said the battle began late Tuesday and lasted well into Wednesday, when Afghan and U.S. forces backed by warplanes and attack helicopters took on Taleban positions near the Pakistani border.

Officials said seven Afghan soldiers and five Afghan policemen were also killed during the fierce fighting, while five U.S. soldiers and two Afghan police officers were wounded.

Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters.